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Massena Rotary Club honored with Presidential Citation with Distinction

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MASSENA - The Massena Rotary Club was one of seven in District 7040 to receive the Rotary Presidential Citation, and theirs was “with distinction” by completing additional activities on top of the required activity in three areas.

Only seven out of 69 clubs in the district were awarded the honors, according to Massena Rotary President Susan Bellor.

The Presidential Citation recognizes Rotary clubs for an array of achievements that promote membership growth, enhance humanitarian service through the Rotary’s Foundation and strengthen the organizations network through the family of Rotary, Mrs. Bellor said.

It was their first Presidential Citation since 2007-08, when they were under the leadership of Douglas Huntley. Previously, the club received the citation in 1993-94 when Al Denslow was president, 1998-99 when Thomas Sullivan was president, 2002-03 when Ronald Patnode was president and 2003-04 when Charles Fahd II was president.

Rotary District 7040 Governor Bonnie Black, in a letter to Mrs. Bellor, said the citation from Rotary International President Ron Burton “is recognition of your achievement as a club in completing the goals set forth for you at PETS (President Elect Training Seminar) in 2013.”

PETS is required by Rotary International for incoming presidents, according to Mrs. Bellor.

“You learn all facets of the goals each year (at PETS) - trends, club service and membership. From that, you go back and make a plan for your year. At Rotary Central you put in all of your goals and follow them. You have to be online a lot and record how you’re doing,” she said.

The Massena club kept a running record to ensure they were on track to achieve each goal during the year.

After attending PETS, Mrs. Bellor said she created a questionnaire and gave it to each member to ask what activities they wanted to involved in during the year. The “member engagement questionnaire,” which was part of promoting membership growth, ensured “that members would be engaged in service and not just ‘on paper,’” she said.

The results of that questionnaire were shared, and the directors met with their committees and subcommittees to make their plans for the year.

All together, Mrs. Bellor said that under the category of “Promote Membership Growth,” they set seven additional activity goals in addition to their required goal of attracting new members and successfully completed all seven.

“We only had to have four to qualify “with distinction,” she said.

Among their additional activities was to hold an annual lobster/steak picnic in August for members, their families and friends, that allowed them to network with other professionals and introduce them to Rotary. They also invited other service groups such as Elks, Kiwanis and Lions, as well as business professionals to another social gathering in December.

They also used a mentoring and orientation program for prospective members with John Murray, a Massena Rotary director. A formal induction ceremony is held after the prospective member has visited three weeks, completed an application and orientation with the director and sponsoring member, and is approved by the board after being announced to membership for two weeks in the bulletin.

Under the category of “Enhance Humanitarian Service Through Our Foundation,” Mrs. Bellor said they set four additional activity goals on top of the required participation in four local service projects and completed all four,

Their service projects included working with Meals on Wheels and sponsoring and working during their day-long radiothon/telethon. They also packaged and distributed food baskets for the Salvation Army at Thanksgiving and rang bells for one designated week during the Christmas holiday season. In addition, they held a wine/food tasting, with all proceeds going to the three local food pantries.

As part of their additional activities, Mrs. Bellor said that, as a partner with Cornwall Sunrise Rotary Club, they gave $3,000 to prevent and treat Bruli Ulcer. They also gave two donations of $250 each to two other Rotary relief funds, among them for flood relief in West Calgary, Alberta.

Another successfully completed activity was to use Rotary Central to submit their giving goals for Rotary Foundation and to keep it those goals updated continually for achievement.

Under the third area of “Strengthen Our Network Through the Family of Rotary,” the club was required to hold three fellowship or service activities that involved all club members and families. They held a lobster/steak picnic in August, a Paul Harris Recognition Night in November and their annual pancake day breakfast and silent auction fundraiser the last Saturday in March.

They also partnered with the Elks Lodge for an annual wine and food tasting fundraiser to benefit the three food pantries, participated with Massena Meals on Wheels for their annual radiothon/telethon and worked with the Massena Electric Department and Alcoa to plant trees in the community.

They set four additional activity goals and completed five, according to Mrs. Bellor. Among them was supporting the local Interact Club at Massena Central High School and participating in the Rotary student exchange. They also worked with several groups, including members, family members, friends and other professionals, student sports teams, the Interact Club, International Baccalaureate Diploma students and the Boy Scouts for the annual pancake breakfast.

Mrs. Bellor said achieving all of their goals was made possible because of the commitment of the Massena Rotary Club members.

“We have a wonderful, wonderful group. Everybody is great. Everybody is dedicated to Rotary,” she said. “We just happen to have a dynamic group. We have a lot of personalities who all get along pretty well. I think we feed off each other. I think it’s that commitment to the community and charitable causes that keep driving us.”

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